And we continue with the Olympians!

magnum opus : a great work
The Sistine Chapel was Michelangelo's magnum opus.
Hey! Speaking of the Sistine Chapel....
Sistine Chapel
mea culpa: my fault

culpable: able to be blamed; at fault
The thief was found to be culpable for many burglaries throughout the city.
magnitude: great size or extent, great importance;
The magnitude of the storm was devastating.

And now, back to Apollo who is terribly unlucky in love...
Apolloesque...a word I just made up, but wildly appropo, don't you think?
So the other day , when we were talking about Apollo, I was trying to get across to y'all the idea of idealized male beauty that is not effeminate but is not super buff hard headed male virility either...and sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words...and, let's face it, any reason at all to gape at Crisitiano Renaldo is welcome...get a load of the lady in the corner!

Apollo's role as a god of prophecy was gravissimus( very important). The most important shrine devoted to him in this role was the Temple at Delphi in Greece which was a sacred place visited by millions of people who wanted to seek the future and commune with the god. It is said that this is the site where he slew the Python.

The Temple at Delphi


So, what is this prophecy business? It's a strange and complicated thing. Our

knowledge of them exactly is a little scant, not because they were secret, but because it was so common, everyone simply assumed everyone knew the rituals and proceedures involved, so, no one wrote them down, or if they did, it is lost.

This is what we do know:

On the seventh day of every month ( except three months in the winter) the oracle was open. An inquirer of the oracle had to undergo certain rituals to prepare:

1. offer an expensive cake outside the temple

2. once inside, offer a goat or sheep for sacrifice which needed to be trembling

3. take his seat in the innermost sanctuary and await the Sybil ( at Delphi aka the Pythia); the priestess of Apollo.

She sat on a tripod topped with a bowl where, according to some sources, she would inhale vaporous outpourings from a cave or possible a fire. A priest would ask her a question and she would rant and rave, and then the priests would interpret these as an answer to the inquiry. It was said to have been a bit on the terrifying side and not a little weird.

the Pythia/Sybil pythia.jpgpythia/sybil

Pythia 2.jpg

R.I.P.= requiescat in pace= rest in peace

agenda: that which must be done

agent: one doing something
requiem: a mass for the dead
Mozart Requiem
Apollo and Daphne sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g...or not.
Apollo was a great archer, but sometimes he was a little full of himself. One day he caught sight of Eros/ Cupid, the son of Aphrodite/Venus. Eros was also an archer, and his arrows were responsible for instilling the twists and turns of love and lust in a person's heart. Apollo teased young Eros, putting down his abilities as an archer, claiming that one so small could make no difference with his arrows.
Angry at this insult, Eros shot two arrows, one tipped in gold, one blunted and tipped with lead. The arrow dipped in gold had the power to create insatiable lust in a person, while the other created absolute abhorrence towards all things romantic and passionate. The unfortunate soul who was struck with that arrow would have no desire to love anyone. The arrow dipped in gold struck Apollo, but the arrow dipped in lead struck fair Daphne.
Daphne was the daughter of the river god Peneus. Apollo chased down the maiden, desperate for her love, but she wanted nothing to do with him, and she ran from him endlessly. Soon, she grew weary in her running and that Apollo would ultimately catch her. Fearful, she called out to her father for help. As all gods of water posses the ability of transformation, Peneus transformed his daughter into a laurel tree. Suddenly her legs took root, and her arms grew into long and slender branches.

apollo and daphne.jpg
apolloa and daphne.jpgapollo daphne 2.jpggalleria borghese

and as if that were not bad enough, there is the story of Cassandra, the Trojan princess...
the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, and therefore was a princess of Troy.

When she was a young girl, she spent the night at the temple of Thymbraean Apollo with her twin brother, Helenus (Bell, 109). Robert Bell writes: "When their parents looked in on them the next morning, the children were entwined with serpents, which flicked their tongues into the children's ears. This enabled Cassandra and Helenus to divine the future."

Once Cassandra had grown up, she again spent the night in Apollo's temple. This time, however, Apollo tried to force himself upon her. When she refused his advances, he cursed her in such a way that no one would believe her prophecies (although they would be true).
cassandra goes beserk

quid pro quo: what for what;

In politics nobody does something for nothing: there's always a quid pro quo involved.

in vitro: in glassin_vitro_fertilization.jpg

vitreous: glass -like
You have vitreous fluid in your eyeball.
pacify: to make peacful
Thumb sucking pacifies many children.
still with the twins, Apollo and Artemis

We're not done with those fun twins, Artemis and Apollo

Apollo's unfortunate love life continues to wreck havoc:
the story of the birth of Aesclepius, the god of medicine. His mother, Coronis, was pregnant by Apollo, but had another lover. She was seen together with him by a raven, who told Apollo. Apollo then killed Coronis, but regretting what he'd done, at least managed to save the child by taking it from Coronis's womb and giving it to the centaur Chiron to bring up. He punished the raven for his interference by turning him into an ugly black bird with an annoying c ry, so people wouls not listen to it, since listening to it had caused him such grief. a raven calling

Artemis' wrath continues!!!

Callisto was a nymph (or, according to some sources, the daughter of Lycaon) who was associated with the goddess of the hunt, Artemis. Young women who were devoted to the goddess hunted with her regularly, and remained virgins, like Artemis herself. Callisto had upheld these ideals faithfully, and she quickly became Artemis' favorite.

While Callisto spent her days and nights with Artemis' other followers, she caught the eye of Zeus. Knowing that the maiden had taken a vow of chastity, Zeus resorted to deception to get at Callisto. He came to her disguised as Artemis, and the young huntress let down her guard. Seizing the opportunity Zeus seduced her.

Callisto became pregnant, and tried desperately to conceal her condition form the goddess. After all, she had, in a way, broken her vow to the goddess and she feared her anger. Callisto had been successful for a time, but then a day came when all of the young women who followed Artemis disrobed to bathe together in a spring. By now Callisto was beginning to show, and once she was naked her secret was revealed. Artemis was furious and she banished the young woman from her fold. Callisto wandered off to have her child alone.

Hera decided that this was the time to exact her revenge. She gripped Callisto's hair and threw her to the ground where the new mother was transformed into a bear. The hunter became the hunted. The child that Callisto had by Zeus was spirited away by Hermes to be raised by his mother, Maia.

According to some sources Artemis herself killed the bear that was once Callisto, but it is usually accepted that when Arcas was out hunting as a young man he encountered the bear. Callisto recognized the handsome youth as the son she could not raise herself. Forgetting her present form, she tried to come near him, but her loving mother's arms were now strong, furry paws, and her once soothing voice was now a rumbling growl. The bear scared Arcas, and he took aim at her with his spear. Zeus took pity on his former victim and intervened. He placed Callisto in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major, or "great bear," and then took Arcas and placed him in the sky near his mother as Ursa Minor, the "little bear."ursas.jpg

Hera was not pleased with this arrangement, especially since Callisto was another of her husband's infidelities. She went to her nurse, Tethys, the wife of Oceanus, and beseeched her to punish Callisto and Arcas. Tethys decided to deprive the pair of water, and so the great bear and the little bear are cursed to circle in the skies, never to dip below the horizon for a refreshing bath or a cool drink. Here the peoples of ancient Greece explained why the two constellations are circumpolar, visible all year round.


ex animo: "from the spirit/heart"; sincerely

cave canem: beware of the dog; found in the atrium of a house destroyed in Pompeii

cave canem.jpg
canine: concerning dogs
magnanimous ( magna+animus): big hearted; big-spirited; kind

As we already know, they can be unkind,inflexible and vengeful....and they are true to that:
After Athena first played the flute she had invented, she threw it away because it made her cheeks look puffy when she played it. A satyr named Marsyas found it. He played so well on it he challenged Apollo to a music playing contest to see who made prettier music. Apollo won the contest and wanted to punish Marsyas for thinking he played better than him. Apollo chased him and when he caught him, in a cave near Calaenae in Phrygia,he flayed him. The satyr's blood turned into the river Marsyas.

Niobe is one of the more tragic figures in Greek myth. She was the daughter of Tantalus and either Euryanassa, Eurythemista, Clytia, or Dione (no one seems to know for sure) and had two brothers, Broteas and Pelops. Niobe was the queen of Thebes (the principle city in Boetia), married to Amphion, King of Thebes.
Niobe had 7 sons and 7 daughters, impressive by any standard, and she made the mistake of boasting that she was a better mother than even Leta, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Leta took offense, complained to her children, and they in turn shot each of her children successively in front of Niobe and Amphion. Apollo killed the boys, and Artemis killed the girls.

Image result for niobe
Image result for niobe
niobe gallery

At the sight of his dead sons, Amphion either committed suicide or was also killed by Apollo for wanting to avenge his children's deaths. In any event, Niobe's entire family was dead in a matter of minutes. In shock, she cradled the youngest daughter in her arms, then fled to Mt. Siplyon in Asia Minor. There she turned to stone and from the rock formed a stream (the Achelous) from her ceaseless tears. She became the symbol of eternal mourning. Niobe's children were left unburied for nine days because Zeushad turned all of the people of Thebes into stone. Only on the tenth day did the gods have pity and entomb her children.

Niobe is weeping even to this day. Carved on a rock cliff on Mt Sipylus is the fading image of a female that the Greeks claim is Niobe (it was probably Cybele, the great mother-goddess of Asia Minor originally). Composed of porous limestone, the stone appears to weep as the water after a rain seeps through it.


in extremis:" in the very last things"; dying

in memoriam: " into memory"

extremity: the outer parts of your body; your arms and legs

commemorate: to memorialize

Hestia/ Vesta: the virgin goddess of the hearth (both private and municipal) and the home. As the goddess of the family hearth she also presided over the cooking of bread and the preparation of the family meal. Hestia was also the goddess of the sacrificial flame and received a share of every sacrifice to the gods. The cooking of the communal feast of sacrificial meat was naturally a part of her domain.
Every city would have had a temple to Vesta within which would have been a fire which was never allowed to go out, this fire was symbolic of the involiablity of Rome's strength...in Rome it was attended to by
Vestal Virgins Vestal Virgins

The priestesses of the goddess Vesta were known as the Vestal Virgins. They were responsible for maintaining the sacred fire within the Temple of Vesta on the Forum Romanum. Other duties included performing rituals in regards to the Goddess Vesta, and baking the sacred salt cake to be used at numerous ceremonies in the year. They were the only female priests within the roman religious system. The head of the college of Vesta was called the Virgo Vestalis Maxima, and she was under the direct authority of the Pontifex Maximus.

The college of Vesta had 18 members, though 6 were considered actual Vestal Virgins at any given time. They were selected from distinguished patrician families at an age from three to ten, and such appointments were considered a top honor for any family to receive. They each served thirty years, the first ten years as novices, then ten years as actual vestal virgins, and finally ten years as supervisors responsible for training the novices. After the thirty years of duty they were released from their duties and could then maintain a private life, including the right to marry. For men, arranging a marriage with a former vestal virgin was highly prestigious, regardless of age or the ability to have children.

The vestals vowed to live in chastity for the thirty years their tenure lasted. In return they were allowed many privileges not given to ordinary Roman women. As one example, the vestals were not subject to the pater potestas of their fathers. Essentially they were allowed to handle their own properties and engage in legal contracts, they were allowed to travel around the city in a carriage and they had special seats in the front row at the various games, where, in contrast women were normally relegated to the back seats. They were considered inviolable and sacred and their blood could not be spilt without fear of terrible repercussion from the gods. So sacred and divine-like were these priestesses, that if a person sentenced to death met a vestal virgin on his way to the execution, he would be automatically pardoned. Of course, special care would be taken to prevent or to make sure this would happen, depending on the circumstances.

While enjoying many benefits, including a rather luxurious life in the House of Vestal Virgins, punishment for breaking the rules were severe. The punishment for breaking the vow of chastity was death by burial alive as this was the adopted to kill a vestal without shedding her blood. Such executions would take place in the "Evil Fields", or Campus Sceleratus, just outside the Servian Wall. Their lover would be flogged to death on the Comitium. While these executions took place several times, it was obviously a rare event that carried all sorts of negative omens with it.
vestal virgin1.jpg Vestal_Virgins_By_Jean_Raoux,_1727.jpg

temple-of-vesta.jpgTemple of Vesta Roman Forumtemple-of-vesta-virgin-statues.jpg

in utero: in the womb

in vino veritas: in wine there is truth
vintner: a winemaker

verify: to make certain something is true
"Trust, but verify." ( Ronald Reagan)
Demeter/Ceres; goddess of grain and the harvest; sister of Zeus/Jupiter;

Perseponne/Proserpina; daughter of Ceres; wife of Hades/Pluto

The Abduction of Perseponne:hades and perseponne
Persephone was the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Persephone was picking flowers one day when Hades saw her. He was so captivated by her beauty that he took her by force to the Underworld.

Demeter, goddess of the harvest searched for her daughter when Persephone went missing. Once she realized Persephone was taken to the Underworld, she protested the abduction by stopping her work with the crops. Before this time, food in Greece was always plentiful, but now crops failed and food was scarce. Zeus and the other gods tried to convince Demeter to lift her curse on the land, but she would not until her daughter was released.

Zeus then sent Hermes to Hades urging him to the release Persephone. Hades understood this as a demand that he needed to follow. Before releasing her, Hades had her eat seeds of the pomegranate. Because she ate fruit from the Underworld she was now tied to the Underworld and to Hades.

Zeus was forced to make a compromise between Demeter and Hades in their claims to Persephone. He arranged a plan for Persephone to spend four months with Hades as his queen, one for every seed of the pomegranate she had eaten. The other eight months she would return to her mother. Demeter continued to allow the crops to fail when Persephone was with Hades. This myth of Persephone was used by the Greeks to explain the seasons.

The Rape of Proserpina by Bernini

bernini-the-rape-of-proserpina-detail.jpg Check out the detail...chisel chisel, file file, chisel chisel, file file....All of these pictures are of the same statue by an Italian artist named Bernini. He is the same person who did the Apollo And Daphne one, and you can tell just by looking at them. This one is in the Galleria Borghese also.

in utero: in the womb

in vino veritas: in wine there is truth
vintner: a winemaker

verify: to make certain something is true
"Trust, but verify." ( Ronald Reagan)

Nothing says happy holidays like a lesson about the Underworld.
Hades/Pluto: lord of the dead, king of the Underworld, brother of Zeus
Hades is also the place ( the Underworld). The Underworld is not necessarily a bad place, but Hades is not exactly a beloved god, because no one wants to die. He's not a lot of fun.

So, let's talk about death and what comes after...the afterlife.
In the ancient world, everyone who died went to the Underworld, which is not to be confused with Hell, which is a Judeo-Christian concept.
After you died, you had to cross over the River Styx, one of five rivers in the Underworld. This is the boundary that separated the living from the dead. In order to cross you had to pay the ferryman, Charon. This is why you relatives would put coins in your mouth at your funeral. If you were not buried properly, you would not cross, and would just wander on the shore, in some kind of netherworld...neither among the living, nor among the dead for all eternity.
Better to cross and be done with it...clash of the gods, Hades

charon-large.jpg charon.jpg

placebo: I will please; fake medicine

sub poena: under penalty

subpoena: a summons to appear in court or face a penalty for not doing so

placate: to please; to smooth things over

Back to the depths:
Hades is not unguarded. There is a watchdog...a hound of Hades: Cerberus cerberus roma.jpg
As, you can see, he's not your everyday beast. He has three heads. He allows spirits in, but doesn't allow them to leave

Five Rivers of the Underworld served as a physical barrier between the Underworld and the mortal realm. Their presence made sure no one could enter or escape unharmed. There were a number rivers in the Underworld, and each served a purpose.

  • Acheron was the river of lamentation.
  • Cocytus was the river of woe.
  • Lethe was the river of forgetfulness.
  • Phlegethon was the river of fire.
  • Styx was the river of unbreakable oath, by which the gods swore. It was also the river of hate.

The Styx is probably the river most often mentioned in mythology. Like most river deities, the Styx was an offspring of Oceanus and Tethys that flowed nine times around the borders of Hades. Its waters were not only fatal to the living, but it also broke vessels that tried to contain it and corroded all materials except the hooves of horses. Those who wished to enter the underworld had to be ferried across the Styx by Charon. It was also the river in which Thetis dipped her son Achilles in order to make him invulnerable to any wound.

The river Lethe was also considered important because, since many cultures believed in the transmigration of souls and reincarnation, the souls going back had to drink from Lethe to forget all their former lives and the Underworld.
la barca de Caronte 1919.jpg

ex tempore: out of the time; at the moment
The student had nothing prepared for his presentation so he began to speak ex tempore.

ex post facto: from what is done afterward; retroactively; subsequently
When a new law goes into effect it is unfair to apply it ex post fact, in fact the US Constitution forbids the application of laws ex past facto.

extemporaneous: off the cuff; without preparation...an extemporaneous speech
Elysian: related to paradise

After one dies, and crosses over, one goes to the Judgment Hall of Rhadamanthys where one stands to be judged by three former kings:
RHADAMANTHYS, MINOS & AIAKOS were the three judges of the dead, underworld demi-godsof the underworld. They were originally mortal men, sons of the god Zeus, who were granted their position after death as a reward for the establishment of law on earth.
Aiakos was the guardian of the keys of the Haides and the judge of the men of Europe, Rhadamanthys was lord of Elysion and judge of the men of Asia, and Minos was the judge of the final vote.
After which you will take your place among the dead:
The Elysian Feilds/Elisium: paradise in the Underworld; a place of perfect happiness


Tartarus: the place of torment in the Underworld in the very lowest depths of Hades. This is where the truly depraved go and where those who challenge the gods go. It is hellish.
in situ: "in place"; in its original position
Crime scene technicians usually photograph their finds in situ before the evidence is removed and sent to a lab.
in re : "in the matter of" ; concerning
From time to time it becomes necesssary to contact your mothers in re: your performance.

situate: to place; to position
sisyphean: really difficult and tedious and yet futile

In the depths of Tartarus are those whom the gods have chosen to punish. clash of the gods hades

Sisyphus is the son of Aeolus (the king of Thessaly) and Enarete, and founder of Corinth. He instituted, among others, the Isthmian Games. According to tradition he was sly and evil and used to way-lay travelers and murder them. He betrayed the secrets of the gods and chained the god of death, Thanatos, so the deceased could not reach the underworld. Hades himself intervened and Sisyphus was severely punished.
In the realm of the dead, he is forced to roll a block of stone against a steep hill, which tumbles back down when he reaches the top. Then the whole process starts again, lasting all eternity. His punishment was depicted on many Greek vases. He is represented as a naked man, or wearing a fur over his shoulders, pushing a boulder.

Ixion was the son the Phlegyas, descendent of Ares, and king of the Lapiths in Thessaly. He is significant in many respects, but is chiefly known as the first human to shed kindred blood. This occurred when Ixion invited his father-in-law, Deioneus, to come and collect the price that Ixion owed him for his bride. Upon his arrival, Deioneus fell into a pit filled with burning coals Ixion had camouflaged.

Because this was a crime new to the human race, nobody could purify Ixion and he wandered an exile. Zeus took pity on him and decided not only to purify Ixion, but to invite him to Olympus as a guest. Once in Olympus though, Ixion became so enamored of Hera, and he desired to sleep with her. Zeus did not believe that Ixion would be so disrespectful as to have designs upon the wife of his host. To see if the rumors were true, Zeus made an image of Hera out of a cloud, and indeed, Ixion attacked the cloud.

To punish him, Zeus bound Ixion to a winged (sometimes flaming) wheel, which revolved in the air in all directions. Also, by order of the gods, Ixion was forced to call out continuously call out: "You should show gratitude to your benefactor." Ixion became one of the more famous sinners on display on Tartarus, and most writers mention him when describing the place.

tantalize:to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reach

Tantalus was the son of Zeus and was the king of Sipylos. He was uniquely favored among mortals since he was invited to share the food of the gods. However, he abused the guest-host relationship and was punished by being "tantalized" with hunger and thirst in Tartarus: he was immersed up to his neck in water, but when he bent to drink, it all drained away; luscious fruit hung on trees above him, but when he reached for it the winds blew the branches beyond his reach.

There are differing stories about what Tantalus' crime was. One account says that he tried to share the divine ambrosia with other mortals, and thus aroused the ire of the gods. A more famous account says that he invited the gods to a banquet and served them the dismembered body of his own son, Pelops; when the gods discovered the trick, they punished Tantalus and restored Pelops to life, replacing with ivory a part of the shoulder which had been eaten by Demeter.
Tantalus is often used as metaphor...like by our very artsy friends at the Burning Man festival:

crazy hippies at the burning man/Tanatlus
The fifty daughters of Danaus. He fled with his daughters in fear of his twin brother Aegyptus, but the fifty sons of Aegyptos followed them to Argos and forced Danaus to give them his daughters in marriage. At their father's behest they murdered their husbands at their wedding night. The only one who spared her husband was Hypermnestra. In Hades, the girls were condemned eternally to pour water in a vessel with holes in its bottom. (A SIEVE!!!!)http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/danaides.html